Poets share insights, inspirations
The 2011 Gilbert Chappell Distinguished Poets Series Central Region Reading featured Bryant Ferrell, Rachel Carroll, Valerie Macon and Becky Gould Gibson.
Laurinburg, N.C. - "What I do is a mentoring through email. It is a ghostly poet and a ghostly poet meeting in cyberspace. It is a very fruitful exchange with a primary goal of fostering revision as every poet finds his or her way."
This was the explanation given by Distinguished Poet Becky Gould Gibson during the 2011 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series Central Region reading April 14 in the DeTamble Library.
High school winner Rachel Carroll, college winner Bryant Ferrell and adult winner Valerie Macon joined Gibson.
Each poet shared recent works, with Carroll winning the prize for most recent by sharing a poem she had composed on the way to the reading. Ferrell read several poems inspired by his experience at St. Andrews, including his trip to Brunnenburg. Macon shared her character sketches that captured experiences related to food, restaurants and trips to the beauty parlor.
After the primary reading, the four poets agreed to answer questions. St. Andrews Writer-in-Residence Ron Bayes asked how the poets react when "lighting strikes" at inconvenient times.
"I've lost a lot of good poems that way," Ferrell admitted.
Carroll has been creative in catching the lightening. "I've been known to write poems on my arms. I wound up doing that on my flight to China. I wrote it all around my arms. When I got there I was able to write it all down."
"I keep a notebook in my purse," Macon said.
Another question was raised about the discipline involved in writing, as Macon shared that she writes for two hours every Saturday morning.
"I have an office that tends to inspire me in a different way," she said. "I see a poem in every person. There is a poem in every restaurant and I see a poem in every field. The more I write the more I see."
Carroll agreed. "The poetry is exponential. It is based on what I experience. When I went to China for two weeks I wrote 12 poems. There is always poetry inside of me and the more poetry I write the more I am inspired. I don't tend to write in the same place because I am so inspired by where I am. To write new things, I have to be in different places."
"I write whenever I have the time, although senioritis is a terrible disease," Ferrell said. "Any desk and chair will do."
In summing up the evening and the fruitful exchange of ideas as a mentor, Gibson shared a conversation she had with Carroll.
"I asked Rachel what she's gotten out of this and she shared that she is no longer writing for herself," Gibson said. "There is a dialog that you have with yourself as a poet and there's a lot that's internal. It is through this process of revision that you go out and connect to other people through the poetry."
The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series originated in 2003 upon the advice of then North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell. It is named after Chappell and former NCPS president Marie Gilbert. The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series supports the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society to foster reading, writing and the enjoyment of poetry across the state.
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